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Moss Tents Starlet (Three-Season)

rated 5.0 of 5 stars

Moss Tents is no longer in business, and the Starlet (Three-Season) has been discontinued. If you're looking for something new, check out the best three-season tents for 2020.

photo: Moss Tents Starlet (Three-Season) three-season tent

Specs

Price Reviewers Paid: $350.00

Reviews

4 reviews
5-star:   3
4-star:   1
3-star:   0
2-star:   0
1-star:   0

Beautiful, technically satisfying, sadly no longer made.

Pros

  • Intelligent design
  • Lightweight for its day
  • Waterproof
  • Windproof
  • Fit into a daypack for motorcycle camping trips

Cons

  • Can't buy anymore :(

FlyOff.jpg

FlyOn.jpg

Just wanted to include my review of this no-longer-obtainable tent so as to post pictures.

Okay, also to reminisce a little. I bought this when my little Italian sportbike was still up and running and I'd just started the adventure of motorcycle camping. The tent I had at the time was a Eureka Bike-N-Hike. It had served me well, including several motorcycle trips, a car-camping trip one July from north of the Arctic Circle through Alaska, down the Cassiar Highway to Seattle, and on a long solo hike in British Columbia. But it was not free standing and was showing its age: the fly ripped in a strong wind after about eight years of steady use.

The Starlet was the perfect replacement, three times the cost, but infinitely better quality. Free standing and tiny, its small pole lengths allowed it to fit perfectly inside the daypack that was the only space left on the Monza. The tent was waterproof from day one, snug, cute, homey, and versatile.

Almost 20 years later, it is still usable. I'll be kicking myself forever for putting it away damp one trip about four years ago, when I switched to another tent and found out days later that mildew had set in. That's been irreparable, but I still use it on occasion when I need a smaller tent for a day or so.

Anyway, these pics are from near the Blue Ridge Parkway in late fall.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: About $460 CDN

Alicia MacLeay TRAILSPACE STAFF

Thanks for reminiscing about your Moss tent, Avid Hiker.


4 years ago
Alicia MacLeay TRAILSPACE STAFF

Thanks also for sharing some pictures of your Moss. I hope you don't mind us using them on the Starlet's product page here.


4 years ago
DrPhun

If the issue is that nasty mildew smell, you might try bathing it in Mirazyme.


4 years ago
Avid Hiker

DrPhun, it's the black spots that actual get into the fabric. It does affect the waterproofing. The folks who repair Moss tents in Maine told they can't fix that. Do you know if Mirazyme works on milew that's gotten into the fabric?


4 years ago
DrPhun

It depends. If it can get to it, it should work, but if it can't get to some of the mold due to the waterproofing it may not work entirely. Much of the time the waterproofing is on only one side, but even then in the seams there are multiple layers that can be difficult to penetrate.


4 years ago

I was looking for a 2-person, 3-season backpacking tent and saw the Moss tents in REI. This was in 1984 and I recall there was a Star Gazer and its little brother the Starlet. I fell in love with its parabolic looks and quality of craftsmanship and the thought of looking up at night and seeing the stars.

I purchased it and it was expensive for me, over $300, but as I assembled it, it had this Swiss watch quality, very well thought out and designed.

I used it in the Sierra Nevada range and it was bomb proof! Winds and rain were manhandled by this little tent as we just slept soundly inside. With the rain fly off, it let the clouds, breezes and the stars swirl above us. A beautiful little tent.

It's been 30 years now and just a couple of little tears in the floor, Ponderosa Pine tree sap on the rain fly and the small holes in the mosquito netting that I tried to fix with 4lb fishing line and a needle are all he battle scars this Starlet shows.

They make tents lighter now and with better pole and clip systems I guess, but Mr. Moss was a true innovator. He built high quality American made backpacking tents that were ahead of their time, and as strong as the Granite mountains they were carried into.

Pros

  • Great design
  • Easy assembly
  • Rugged construction

Cons

  • Heavier than modern 1-2 person tents.
  • Snug, a bit snug for 2 people (but great if those 2 people "sleep" well together!)

As I've said before, the Moss Starlet is a design from a generation ago. Yes, they are a bit heavy, but it's "Beefy" heavy, "Strong" heavy. The kind of heavy I was very glad it had as I snow camped on the top of Bridalveil Falls 4.000 feet above Yosemite Valley.

It's an old school shelter that people who see it stop and ask questions and tell stories about their interests or experiences. Like when a muscle car rolls up into the gas station and people notice the rugged and archaic lines of something old, but well made. Well made in Camden, Maine, U.S.A.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $350

g00se

Smitty, welcome to Trailspace, and thanks for the review. Any chance you could post a picture or two on this "old school" tent?


6 years ago
Alicia MacLeay TRAILSPACE STAFF

Welcome to Trailspace, Smitty! I'd also love to see some pictures of your Moss.


6 years ago
Chuck Davis RETAILER

Have a Solus II that I got at the Camden "factory" in the summer of 1984 for a bicycle trip to Nova Scotia with "old" GF, still have (tent, not GF!) and still use for bicycle camping, great little tent (have pics)


6 years ago
Alicia MacLeay TRAILSPACE STAFF

@Chucky, we'd love to read a review for you of your Solus! Please feel free to write one and share those pictures: https://www.trailspace.com/gear/write-review/


6 years ago
Smitty

Smitty Thanks for the warm welcome. My Starlet is in storage, but when I get to it,(or some pix of it) I'll post them.


6 years ago
Tim Bessie

I also own a Starlet, which I bought at the Moss factory in Camden back around 1987 (my girlfriend at the time had a friend who's husband worked there) - bought it at cost, so nice! :-) I carried it all over the world, and it's now in storage. I would like to keep using it, and have been put in touch by Jane English on the billmosstents website, with someone who might be able to make it waterproof and lovely again.


5 years ago
Alicia MacLeay TRAILSPACE STAFF

Welcome to Trailspace, Tim. We'd love to see a review, with hopefully some pics too, of your Starlet.


5 years ago
Tim Bessie

Thanks for the welcome, Alicia! I'll try to get it out and set it up at some point for posterity. :-)


5 years ago
Alicia MacLeay TRAILSPACE STAFF

You're welcome, Tim!


5 years ago
Tim Bessie

Sorry I never followed this up; a few years ago I took it out, and found it had completely delaminated; the whole tent was all sticky, with the waterproofing having turned to goo. I washed it to get rid of the goo, but now it's no longer waterproof, so it's unlikely I'll ever use it again. But I keep it around, hoping I can find someone to recreate it for me with new materials.



I talked to one guy, but he said the stretching of the tent material would make it hard to duplicate, and he'd need the original blueprints to do a good job.



I managed to contact a tent designer at Cascade Designs, which inherited all the Moss designs - in fact, the guy I spoke with used to work at Moss. He gave me a few contacts to speak with that currently have the old Moss blueprints, but they haven't replied to my contact attempts, unfortunately. I may try again (the people with the blueprints had a Moss repair company, but one of them died and they closed up shop).


9 months ago
Alicia MacLeay TRAILSPACE STAFF

You are dedicated, Tim! If you end up rehabbing or recreating your Moss tent please let us know how it worked out.


9 months ago

I also absolutely love this tent. Have had it for several years. Cycled across America last summer '09 and used it on several other cycle trips.

It has only 2 poles so very easy to put up. I plan a long trip (Cairo to Capetown) with a group and actually bought a Hubba Hubba but I think I will stay with my Moss. I also love the netting which is good when no fly is needed.

I am wondering if anyone maybe at a store that used to sell the Moss might have a 'footprint' or ground sheet made especially for it.

I am shocked and wondering why Moss no longer makes that tent ... or the people that bought out Moss don't. What a SHAME.

Judy

Sleeps: 1
Ease of Setup: Very easy
Weight: maybe 5 lbs or lighter
Price Paid: Can't remember

This is THE most perfect tent I have ever used. Moss has really made a sweet tent this time. I needed a 3-season backpackable ventilation tent to deal with hot humid weather. I have tried for years to find a North Face Ventilator, but have never been able to get ahold of one due to the short production run (1994-1996). I read a review on BACKPACKER about the Starlet and was very impressed. Even more impressive is that Moss is one of the few companies to make their tents in the good old USA.

This tent can hold two people without a problem. The rain fly is rip-stop material, and has yet to leak. I have had this tent a long time and have put it through the trials of backpacking. Easy to set up and tear down, easy to get in and out of, very lightweight, and packs up into a sack that is no bigger than my sleeping bad in its stuff sack.

Can't say enough about this baby. I was very sad to hear that this year (2002) Moss is no more. They have been bought out by MSR. MSR now has made some slight changes to the Moss tents, and now sells them as their own. I guess this just goes to show how good the Moss products really are. Those interested in a Moss tent should go out TODAY and get one. They are becoming harder to find everyday.

If anyone has any questions about this tent I will try and answer them for you. Just e-mail me. Now....GO OUT AND BUY A MOSS WHILE YOU STILL CAN!!!!!!!!

Design: Three-season freestanding ventilation
Sleeps: 2
Ease of Setup: Very easy to set up. Only 2 poles, and a rainfly.
Weight: 3.65 lbs.
Price Paid: $350

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